College Sports

Fire & Ice women’s soccer team ready for season; Chalupny to be honored in Belleville

Fire & Ice, the metro-east member of the semi-professional Women’s Premier Soccer League, is back for its fourth season and is gearing up for its first game.

Fire & Ice, coached and owned by Lindsay Eversmeyer, opens the season with road games against the Cincinnati Sirens at 7 p.m. Saturday and the Dayton Dutch Lions at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The home opener will be at 7 p.m. June 4 against Cincinnati, at Belleville West High School, Fire & Ice’s new home field after three seasons in Columbia.

“We’re going to be good. We’re going to be competitive,” said Eversmeyer, whose assistant coaches are Jarius Holmes and Juergen Huettner. “I think we’ll continue to grow.”

Fire & Ice was 8-1-1 last year, its loss and tie coming against the Chicago Red Stars Reserves, who won the WPSL championship by defeating SoCal 2-1 in Edmond, Okla.

Former metro-east stars Kelsey Dinges, Rachel Tejada, Megan Pawloski, Katya Hessel, Gayla Foster and Lauren Kaempfe are among the Fire & Ice players.

Eversmeyer, 36, an Alton High graduate who is the only female to play professionally for the St. Louis Steamers, has another deep and talented roster.

Kelsey Dinges (Althoff, Miami-Ohio), Rachel Tejada (Triad, Illinois State), Katya Hessel (Edwardsville, Missouri), Megan Pawloski (Althoff, Illinois), Gayla Foster (Edwardsville, Louisiana-Lafayette) and Lauren Kaempfe (Columbia, Southeast Missouri State) are among the Fire & Ice players.

Tejada, the News-Democrat’s Co-Player of the Year in 2011 along with Dinges, led Fire & Ice with nine goals and four assists last season despite playing in just four games. Dinges had six goals and three assists, while Pawloski had five goals and two assists. Pawloski was a two-time News-Democrat Player of the Year.

“We’re similar to last year,” Eversmeyer said of the team’s talent level.

Other home games for Fire & Ice are 2 p.m. June 19 vs. FC Pride, 7 p.m. July 1 vs. Dayton and 7 p.m. July 16 vs. Columbus. Other road games are 2 p.m. June 12 at FC Pride and 3 p.m. July 9 vs. Columbus. The playoffs begin July 23.

Lori Chalupny Night

Recently retired Lori Chalupny, a St. Louis native who helped the United State women’s national team win the World Cup in 2015, will be recognized for her stellar career and will be available to sign autographs for fans at Fire & Ice’s home opener (see date above).

Lori Chalupny, who helped the United States women’s soccer team win the World Cup in 2015, will be at Belleville West on June 4 for Fire & Ice’s home opener.

The game will be preceded by two all-star games involving Illinois players from north and south regions. The boys game will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by the girls at 5:30. The games will have 25-minute halves. Teams were selected by a committee.

It’s the first year for the boys all-star game.

“Some of the boys coaches had said they didn’t have anything like this in the area for them,” Eversmeyer said. “We decided to it with the girls and boys and made it a big event.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. The kids deserve the opportunity to be recognized for their awesome accomplishments. I always want to bring recognition to the game, and what a great way to do it. It’s something positive.”

Chalupny will present awards to the players in the boys and girls all-star games.

“This will be a great event to recognize some of this area’s best high-school players and also showcase women who have excelled in soccer and who continue to pursue their passion,” Chalupny said. “I am very excited to be a part of it.”

Admission to the all-star games and the Fire & Ice contest against Cincinnati is $8 for adults and $5 for students with a school identification. Kids 8 and under will be admitted free.

David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm